The Constitution: U.S. Debt

The second power given to the Congress by the Constitution is: To borrow money on the credit of the United States;

Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story is a pretty reliable source for what the Founding Fathers intended. He was appointed by one of our Founding Fathers,  James Madison who is known as the “architect of the Constitution”.

About the second enumerated power he writes in his book (page 139), “This power, also, seems indispensable to the sovereignty and existence of the National Government; for otherwise, in times of great public dangers, or severe public calamities, it might be impossible to provide, adequately, for the public exigencies. In times of peace, it may not, ordinarily, be necessary for the expenditures of a nation to exceed its revenues. But the experience of all nations must convince us, that, in times of war, the burdens and expenses of a single year may more than equal the ordinary revenue of ten years. ”

He further writes, “Without this resource, neither the war of Independence, nor the more recent war with Great Britain could have been successfully carried on, or terminated.  And the purchase of Louisiana was by the same means promptly provided for ,”

On page 145 Justice Story also says that the role of the Government is to protect the sovereignty of the United States.  However I do not think they envisioned the debt we now face, and its threat to our sovereignty.

  • More Information and graphs on The National Debt. To banks ( the Federal Reserve is the Central Bank) debt is money, but it causes a loss to the U.S. taxpayer  in the form of inflation.  As long as there is an incentive for those in power to increase our debt, there will be no desire to decrease it.  In fact we have not had a balanced budget since the Federal Reserve gained power over our money supply in 1914. The following video explains how banks manage to turn debt into an asset, and are able to make loans on that debt, increasing their profits.

There are many possible questions the educator can use to facilitate discussion.  But we suggest a few here: (1) How would a Constitutional amendment to Cap the debt effect times of emergency mentioned by Justice Story? (2) Could the amendment be written so that it could be raised in time of emergency, or would that defeat the purpose? (3) Did the Founding Fathers give too much unchecked power in the second enumerated power given to Congress? (4) How much of a role has the Federal Reserve played in our current budget deficit?

Resource for the written information: A Familiar Exposition of the Constitution of the United States: Containing a Brief Commentary On Every Clause, Explaining the True Nature, Reasons, … and General Readers. with an Appendix, Conta

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About Roma Cox

Education has always been my passion, and I am blessed beyond measure to be allowed to serve in this way. We offer many educational products and school supplies, information, workshops, news letters, tutoring services, volunteer work, and free consultations. Roma can be reached at (904)317-5330 from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. EST-U.S.
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